Friday 7 August 2015

The Dogist - A Review

THE DOGIST by Elias Weiss Friedman. 

* I received this ebook at no charge from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review *

I think, despite the fact that I know its not possible right now, I have a (not so secret) desire to own a dog again because lately I seem to be picking an awful lot of books to read that have really cute dogs on the cover.  Since that seemed to be the trend I thought why not give in and get a book that was full of dog pictures.  (Total Immersion Therapy? … Is that a thing?) I had a wonderful time paging through this book.

If you have ever tried to take a picture of a favorite pet you know that they never want to cooperate.  Dogs (and cats) do the cutest things all day long – until that moment when you grab your camera and aim it at them – then it seems the only thing they are interested in doing is cleaning their bottoms.  This is certainly not the case for Mr. Friedman.  He’s got taking pictures of dogs down to an art form.  This book sprang from Mr. Friedman’s blog “The Dogist”.  As he explains in the book,

“What if someone could do The Sartorialist for dogs?  Like ...The Dogist?  I knew from day one that the blog would catch on.  Nobody was telling this awesome story!  Everybody sees beautiful dogs strutting down the streets, and we are all painfully curious about the dog and that dog’s story.  Armed with a squeak toy, kneepads, and a crazy idea, I decided that The Dogist would be my project, and I would tell the dog’s stories.”

Mr. Friedman is even kind enough to include what he calls “The Dogist’s Ten Commandments of Dog Photography”.

Of course this book has all the obligatory pictures of cute puppies, dogs in boots, dogs in sweaters and dogs dressed in various costumes.  They were all beautiful pictures that made me smile and, admittedly, sometimes wonder what on earth the dogs thought of being all dolled out.  There were close up pictures of doggy noses, dogs with beautiful eyes and dogs with smiles (Oh yes – they do!).  Puppies were included, because, well, how can you go wrong with puppies?  Also, included were a few heart wrenching photos of Pitbulls that had seen days in the fighting circuit.  Those were hard to look at but Mr. Friedman included a little of their story and how things were better for them when they found a caring forever home.

With every picture he includes the dogs name, age (when he could) and the breed.  I appreciated the information as some of the dogs looked unlike any I had seen before.  In fact sometimes I would look at a page of pictures and think to myself “what the heck?” only to discover Mr. Friedman’s sense of humor by including a pot-belly pig in the mix … or a rooster or a parrot or a squirrel. 

Some of my favorite pictures from the book ...

Lola, the Bergamasco

Chauncey, the Hungarian Komondor

Huxley, the Labradoodle

Ms. Willy - I can't believe how different an uncropped Doberman looks

I received this ARC to review as an ebook so I cannot speak to the quality of the book itself.  (Release set October 2015)  But, having seen the amazing pictures, I think I can safely suggest that this would make an excellent gift for any dog lover and would definitely make a wonderful “coffee table” book.  I know I’m definitely going to be going back to it to look at the pictures again, just to see if I missed anything on the first go through.

My only criticism, if I have to make one, was that the book jumped around a little to much in terms of subject.  I would see the heading, “Puppies” for example, pick up my cup of coffee planning to enjoy a few pages of puppy pictures only to find that there were only two or three and then later on in the book there would be another page labelled “Puppies”.  It could just be my personal taste, but I would have preferred dedicated sections.  It would make it easier to go back and find a certain picture later on as well.

I cannot review this book without mentioning The Dogist’s “Give a Dog a Bone” program.  The following information is directly from the WEBSITE:

The Dogist has created the Give a Dog a Bone program to help:

Get dogs out of shelters

Improve dog’s quality of life in shelters

Support & promote organizations that shelter dogs (a portion of proceeds goes directly to the featured shelter)

The program is a bit like “Secret Santa” for dogs. By purchasing a bone ($50-$100), The Dogist will personally deliver a rawhide bone to a dog in a shelter and post a photograph of the dog with their new bone to The Dogist blog, citing the donor. A post would look something like this:

“Larry, Pit Bull - Available for adoption from @ASPCA. Bone given by @davidf370.”

By purchasing a bone for a dog, you’re doing a few great things:

Greatly increasing the chances of a dog getting adopted

Supporting an organization that shelters dogs (a portion of proceeds goes directly to the featured shelter)

Improving the quality of life of a dog that spends most of its time in a 4’x3’ cage (at the shelter’s discretion, bones may not be left in cages)

Public recognition as a supporter of dogs, shelters, and The Dogist

Supporting The Dogist with your contribution.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR (from the book)

Elias Weiss Friedman grew up near Philadelphia in a big family of brothers, sisters, cousins, and dogs.  After graduating from Boston University in 2010, he moved to New York and held a job at a major brand strategy agency for two years.  But after a round of layoffs, he wanted to take on something more authentic and creative.  Inspired by friends in New York City’s start-up culture, he decided to combine the two things he has loved since childhood; photography and dogs.  Friedman created the wildly successful blog and Instagram feed The Dogist in 2013.

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